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State plans to review 5 years of Detroit gun cases

The Associated Press

DETROIT — Authorities will review more than five years of files to search for cases where gun evidence may have been misjudged by the Detroit police lab, a prosecutor said Friday.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced that evidence in firearms cases from 2003 through much of September 2008 would be reviewed.

The Detroit lab was shut down in September after a state police audit found errors in 10 percent of 200 random gun cases. The state lab has taken over the work.

"I want people to continue to have confidence in the Wayne County prosecutor's office and the criminal justice system," Worthy said.

Review teams will look at crimes involving firearms from those five years that were handled by the city's police lab. Michigan State Police also will conduct new tests on evidence in some cases.

The groups would include prosecutors, defense lawyers and possibly former judges.

James Neuhard, head of the Michigan Appellate Defender Office, called the review of old cases "open and transparent."

"Both sides are free to contest and argue the significance ... to the results the state police reach," he said.

Worthy spokeswoman Maria Miller said the number of affected cases was unknown.

The work, expected to take at least three years, was estimated to cost more than $2 million and would be paid by the city.

"We've presented evidence to juries that is fallible, not reliable, incompetent and just plain wrong," Worthy told the City Council in October.

She had blamed the problems on poor funding and training.

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